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China sees stable home prices amid control policies

(Xinhua)    12:06, October 21, 2020

BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's housing market remained generally stable in September, with slight month-on-month growth in home prices in major cities, official data showed Tuesday.

New home prices in four first-tier cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen -- rose by 0.4 percent month on month in September, down 0.2 percentage points from a month earlier, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

On a monthly basis, new home prices edged up 0.3 percent in 31 second-tier cities, and rose 0.5 percent in 35 third-tier cities.

Prices of resold housing in first-tier cities edged up 0.9 percent month on month in September, with the growth slowing by 0.1 percentage points than the previous month. Second-tier cities saw slower month-on-month growth of resold housing prices, while the price rise in third-tier cities remains unchanged from the previous month at 0.6 percent.

On a yearly basis, Beijing saw new home prices up 3.8 percent last month, while new home prices in Shenzhen jumped 5.3 percent year on year.

The stable prices came amid sustained government efforts to rein in housing speculation over the past few years, with each city rolling out targeted measures to keep housing inflation within a proper range.

China's home prices surged in 2016 when speculators took advantage of favorable lending policies to buy homes via leveraged borrowing, contributing to what many had feared as a "housing bubble."

To contain the risks, central authorities have implemented various restrictive policies such as higher down payment ratio for second homes and crackdowns on shadow banking loans to speculators.

In September, local governments continued to maintain the principle that "housing is for living in, not for speculation," and adopted measures to keep housing prices and market expectations stable, said Sheng Guoqing, a senior NBS statistician.

September and October are traditionally considered peak sales seasons for developers as both demand and supply climb. Developers increased market supply last month with several firms introducing promotional policies to attract potential buyers, noted Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with real estate agency Centaline Property.

In addition, developers have stepped up bidding for land auctions in recent months. Land sales in 50 major cities exceeded 3.13 trillion yuan (about 468 billion U.S. dollars) as of Monday, up 17.9 percent from the same period in 2019, data from Centaline Property showed.

China has seen a notable rebound in real estate investment in recent months as the economy gradually recovers from woes brought about by the COVID-19 epidemic.

The latest NBS data showed that the country's property investment in the first nine months jumped 5.6 percent year on year, with investment in residential property rising 6.1 percent.

With the real estate market gaining momentum, China has adopted stricter control measures to rein in housing speculation, Zhang noted, citing an increase in the number of housing policy adjustments by local governments in the past few months.

Housing prices are likely to see a mild uptick in October, but targeted control policies will forestall rapid price hikes and help maintain a stable housing market, Zhang said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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